ALPHA

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Biblical DN (NT) 1. Descriptive name for CHRIST (3 Nephi 9:18)

Etymology

ALPHA appears only once in the Book of Mormon as part of the phrase "ALPHA and OMEGA," with reference to the risen Lord in 3 Nephi 9:18. Alpha and Omega are respectively, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and probably are a merism meaning not just the first and the last, but the whole alphabet.

The rendering of this phrase from the plates into English is probably dependent on the KJV rendering of Revelation 1:8, where the phrase is "I am the Alpha and Omega (koine Greek: τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, literally, “the Alpha and the Omega”), the beginning and the ending," with reference to CHRIST. It occurs twice more in Revelation (21:6 and 22:13). The phrase "the beginning and the end" (also found in Ecclesiastes 3:11, but not as a reference to deity) may also be connected with the merism "first and last" in Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. According to the Jewish folklorist Dov Noy, "the expression 'from alef to tav' (Shab. 55a and Av. Zar. 4a) corresponding to that of 'Alpha and Omega' (Rev. 1:8 and 22:13) denotes complete integration,"[1] or, perhaps better said, a merism.


Variants

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐈𐐢𐐙𐐂 (ælfɑː)

Notes


  1. Dov Noy, "Alef in Aggadah and Folklore," Encyclopedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Encyclopedia Judaica, 1996), 2:555.
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